CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices based at NUI Galway, has announced a new research partnership with B. Braun, one of the world’s leading providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions. The partnership will see the development of a novel drug delivery system for cannabinoids for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing, and the development of a device for the management of wound odour.
Chronic wounds affect up to 4% of people over 65 years, with venous leg ulcers being the most prevalent of these, accounting for approximately 70% of all ulcers of the lower limbs. Chronic wounds are associated with reduced quality of life and affect the individual in physical, psychological and psychosocial domains. This in turn can impact family members and the individual’s ability to contribute to society fully.
Among the many symptoms associated with chronic wounds, pain is cited as one of the worst aspects. While multiple forms of pain relief exist, these do not provide relief for all patients, and people with chronic wounds regularly state they do not wish to take more medication and have a fear of addiction.
Professor Georgina Gethin, CÚRAM Investigator, project co-lead, and Director of the Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds, explains: “Members of our patient panel in Alliance for Research and Innovation in Wounds have recounted using a trial and error process to alleviate pain and often take to resting until the pain goes away. They have identified that research to develop interventions to relieve pain is a priority for them. The endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system plays a key role in pain modulation and also regulates wound healing. It represents a novel target for more effective dual management of both pain and wound healing.”
Professor David Finn, an Investigator in CÚRAM, Head of Pharmacology, and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research is a co-lead on the project. He brings over 20 years of expertise in cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system and pain to the project. His group will play a key role in advancing understanding of the endocannabinoid system in wound pain and healing, and in preclinical testing of the novel cannabinoid-eluting delivery system for more effective treatment of wound pain and improved wound healing.
Professor Finn says: “This project is a clear example of our commitment to addressing pain and wound healing, two of the world’s major health challenges, by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments.”
Professor Lokesh Joshi, Stokes Professor of Glycosciences at NUI Galway and a collaborator on the project will be leading the management of wound odour in the device design. A novel component to wound dressing will lead to modified dressing to remove or to minimalise wound odour during wound healing.
Professor Joshi says: “This project exemplifies our commitment to addressing major health challenges by translating cutting-edge biomedical research into new and effective treatments to have a positive impact on both the physical and social implications of chronic wounds.”
Mr Pat McLoughlin, Site Director of B. Braun Hospicare, said: “B. Braun, a company that prides itself on “Sharing Expertise”, is delighted to work with and learn from this research project with CÚRAM. The project’s main goal is to produce quality new products in the management of chronic wound pain and odour for the B. Braun portfolio. This is an exciting time in wound care production in Ireland. As we embark on this journey with CÚRAM, we hope to develop innovative solutions to make chronic wound care easier to manage at home for patients and practitioners. As a company, B. Braun aims to protect and improve the lives of people around the world. This project allows us to both gain insight and helps improve patient outcomes.”
Mr McLoughlin added: “B. Braun recognises that most innovation in the chronic wound care sector focuses on management of wound exudate (fluid) and may not focus on other aspects of how the patient manages their conditions. The most exciting aspect of this research will be patients’ perspective of how they can best live self-determined lives and how we can help meet those needs.”
Susan O’Mahoney, who leads the development of new products at B. Braun Hospicare, adds that CÚRAM has recognised how the industry works and has tailored the way they work to “make things easy for the industry” by providing “an up-front statement of work with clear timelines and deliverables, and quarterly updates which can be used to update steering committees on our side.”
CÚRAM’s strategic mission is to establish a world-leading Irish Medical Device Research and Development Centre to develop diagnostic devices, biomedical implants, cell-device and drug-device combination products to address unmet clinical needs. In doing so, the Centre partners with local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and multinational medical device and pharmaceutical companies to increase employment in Ireland.
The recent announcement of over €46 million in funding for the CÚRAM SFI Research Centre demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment to reinvesting in the MedTech industry in Ireland, supporting the continuation of substantial academic, industry and clinical collaborations central to CÚRAM’s work.